Distance Learning: Never Again

Schools should never revert back to hybrid learning!

Arianna Rodriguez, Staff Member

It’s hard to imagine that only one year ago, our school environment looked completely different. Teachers were starting classes virtually through Teams, students were logging in, and lessons were taking place over computers and cell phones. The distance learning environment was very ineffective for both students and teachers.

Teachers went from having a class full of up to thirty students whom they could easily interact
with, to classes of up to 15 in-person students and another up to 15 virtual students at home. There was a major decrease in the number of children who were allowed in a classroom and facial coverings were a must to be allowed in the building, while the rest of the students were still working through computers.

Mrs. Johnson, a Sonderling teacher, discussed her difficulties with distance learning over the past two years.

“Distance learning was incredibly hard for me. I didn’t feel like I was connecting with my students well. I missed seeing everyone in my classroom! A lot of things I loved about teaching I couldn’t do,” she said.

But now with everyone being back in school, she feels “rejuvenated” with “a new sense of
inspiration for teaching.” She wants students to know that underneath the piece of cloth that covers
her face she has a smile plastered from ear to ear.

Teachers, along with students, also needed to know how to learn how to use specific applications
to produce a learning environment through the computers. It was like being thrown into arena without knowing how the play the game.

According to Mr. Coysch, a Ross Science teacher, distance learning was a technological challenge for teachers. Still, he appreciates what he was able to learn.

“Distance learning forced me to learn how to use technology like Teams, cameras, and microphones,” he said.

“It’s still different than pre-COVID-19 but it’s moving in the right direction.”

Students were also vividly affected by Hybrid learning. Learning through a screen inhibited students from practicing social skills. Students couldn’t walk through the hallways on their way to class conversing with friends or even turn to a classmate next to them to ask a question. Students working online through the computers were also called on less frequently to participate in class.

Not everyone had a working device to access their classes on Wi-Fi, which was vital to have for this type of learning. So, school districts created hotspots in areas they found most students didn’t receive Wi-Fi and distributed computers to students so that they could have additional access.

The rollout of laptops to students took a long time, because they were in high demand. Students needed to come up to the school building to collect the designated device in the height of the pandemic, so some students were behind on their studies and found it hard to catch up to the rest of the class.

Being at home also came with distractions. According to Jessica Salvador, surrounding noises made it difficult to concentrate even in the comfort of her own home

“Distance learning was really hard for me. It was hard to concentrate at home with all of the distractions, and as a result my grades started dropping,” she said.

She spoke highly of the changes to learning this school year.

“I’m really glad we’re back in school. It’s so much easier to learn when there’s a teacher teaching in
front of you rather than over a screen,” Salvador said.

Hybrid learning affected both students and faculty. It affected grades, social interactions,
and productivity. Forced people to take a big leap into the technological world, going from
having little to no knowledge having to know mostly everything. Educators and students should
never have to face the difficulties of distance learning ever again.